Trump Tax Return Thief Gets His: “Karma’s A Bitch”

Only one of the three major networks deemed it worthy to cover a federal judge’s condemnation of an act characterized as “an attack on our constitutional democracy” and “open season on our elected officials.” Government attorneys went on to label it “one of the most serious crimes in IRS history.” The subject was the sentencing of Charles Littlejohn, an IRS employee who, according to the judge, committed a crime comparable to the events of January 6. Littlejohn received a five-year federal prison sentence for leaking Donald Trump’s tax return, a story that received minimal coverage.

Littlejohn’s actions involved stealing Trump’s tax return in September 2020 and delivering it to the left-leaning New York Times. Despite the illicit means, the Times justified its publication on First Amendment grounds. The timing of Littlejohn’s theft aimed to influence the 2020 election. Over a 15-year period, he stole thousands of other returns, targeting the wealthiest Americans, including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet. Littlejohn’s sophisticated data theft operation extended beyond tax returns to encompass private information such as stock trades and gambling winnings, leading the Justice Department to describe it as a life-organizing crime.

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) voiced his perspective on the sentencing, revealing his personal victimization by Littlejohn’s extensive scheme. He emphasized the long-lasting impact on his family, asserting that every American is a victim. Scott criticized Littlejohn’s plea deal with the Justice Department as the “plea deal of the century.”

Despite the gravity of the situation and the First Amendment implications, the three major networks showed limited interest. NBC provided a brief 19-second report on its Nightly News program on January 29, while ABC and CBS did not cover the story at all. NBC’s coverage downplayed Littlejohn’s actions as a “leak” rather than a “theft.” Even on its website, NBC presented a story that softened Littlejohn’s conviction by highlighting a quote from U.S. District Judge Ana C. Reyes, emphasizing that Littlejohn “sincerely felt a moral imperative” to act as he did.

Although sentencing guidelines recommended 18 months for the unauthorized disclosure of tax returns, Reyes imposed a 60-month sentence. The Department of Justice emphasized that this sentence should serve as a warning to deter anyone considering emulating Littlejohn’s actions.